Why Is Toxic Black Mold A Health Concern?
What Is Toxic Black Mold?
There are many types of mold, including Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Cladosporium. The most common black mold is Stachybotrys mold, which is a dominant mold that will out grow other mold species if the conditions are favorable.
The most common species of Stachybotrys mold is Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as Stachybotrys atra. This mold species often grows indoors, feeding on decaying organic matter with a high cellulose content such as hay, straw, wood chips, and building materials such as ceiling tile, drywall, paper vapor barriers, wallpaper, insulation backing, cardboard boxes, and paper files.
Moisture and a relative humidity of 90% or higher are the ideal conditions for this black mold to begin the germination growth process.
How Does Toxic Black Mold Spread?
When Stachybotrys mold is growing on wet material, the spores do not disperse as easily because the spores are held together by a sticky/slimy coating. However, when the material dries out or is disturbed, the spores will spread through the air.
The main concern of a mold remediation contractor is to prevent the spread of toxic black mold. The most effective method of doing this is through containment, which is the process of creating a poly barrier around the area where the Stachybotrys mold is growing.
This procedure is so important because Stachybotrys spreads by releasing spores. Mold contaminated materials must be removed and disposed of because this mold does not just grow on the surface of the material; it has root-like tendrils called mycelia, meaning it is able to penetrate the surface.
Typically Stachybotry mold grows in clusters at the end of stem-like structures known as hyphae.
Top 15 Health Problems Caused By Toxic Black Mold
Stachybotrys black mold is a health concern because animal studies have shown that one of the major effects of trichothecenes is immuno-suppression.
In fact, even low level exposure can suppress the immune system resulting in bacterial and viral infections, coughing, skin irritation, and other allergic reactions, and there is some speculation that it may even cause cancer.
Listed below are the top 15 health conditions caused when toxic Stachybotrys black mold is inhaled or ingested:
- Sore/hoarse throat
- Cold and flu symptoms (headaches, slight fever, and muscle aches)
- Tingling or burning of nose, mouth, and perspiration areas (under the arms or between the legs)
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory loss
- Attention deficit/concentration problems
- Personality changes such as irritability or depression
- Neurological disorders such as tremors
- Hair loss
- Coughing with blood
- Bleeding in the lungs (hemosiderosis)
- Damage to internal organs including blood, liver, kidneys, and lungs
The infographic below, courtesy of the Mold Blogger, provides an exceptional summary on black mold and the associated health symptoms of exposure.
Toxic Black Mold Infographic
— MSZ Restoration (@mszrestoration) October 22, 2015